Late last year, the Arabic Literature Committee in the Eastern Mediterranean Field completed its translation of the two-volume, New Beacon Bible Commentary on Romans into Arabic. It was the first translation to be completed under the committee’s recently appointed director, Andre Hannoush, a Nazarene pastor in Beirut.
The committee printed 1,500 copies, with 200 reserved for Nazarene pastors and ministry leaders who speak Arabic. It took five translators about 10 months to complete the work, Hannoush said.
The project sped forward when, last spring, Hannoush created and registered Spring of Life Publications with the government as an official Nazarene entity in Lebanon.
“As Nazarene churches in Arab countries, we don’t have [many] commentaries [in Arabic], so we chose Romans to be translated because it’s from the Wesleyan library … and clarifies better the biblical truth,” Hannoush wrote in an email interview. “Other evangelical denominations are interested in Romans, especially Wesleyan churches.”
Romans is a critical book of the Bible because the Nazarene denomination draws much of its holiness doctrine and beliefs from this book, written by the Apostle Paul, said Nikolaj Sawatzky, the Eurasia Region Literature coordinator.
Beacon Hill Press, a division of Nazarene Publishing House, is publishing the series of English commentaries on all the books of the Bible, with 16 books completed so far, printed in 13 volumes.
The literature committee for the Commonwealth of Independent States Field has also translated the commentary for Romans into Russian. The Eurasia Region is the first of the denomination’s five administrative regions (excluding USA/Canada Region, where Beacon Hill Press is located) to translate a work from the commentary series into another language.
“The importance of this publication cannot be overstated,” said Sawatzky. “Wesleyan-Arminian Holiness theology is being presented and explained by way of interpreting God’s Word. What better way is there to share our holiness heritage with others in the Christian community?”
And there certainly is an interest from the Christian community in Lebanon, where leaders from other denominations are asking for more theological texts to be printed in Arabic.
A Baptist Bible college in Lebanon asked for copies of every available Nazarene text in Arabic, and ordered 10 copies of discipleship and spiritual growth booklets. Hannoush also gave a partially-translated copy of Grace, Faith and Holiness, a classic Wesleyan text, to a bishop of the Maronite church during a recent board meeting of the Bible Society of Lebanon. Later the bishop urged Hannoush to ensure the Grace, Faith and Holiness translation is finished as soon as possible, Sawatzky wrote in a report to the Eurasia Regional Advisory Counsel.
That is the next project on the committee’s list, Hannoush confirmed.
Other upcoming projects include an Arabic/English dictionary by Mawiyah Halash, and William Greathouse’s From the Apostle to Wesley.
Those who wish to purchase a copy of the Arabic commentary can send an email to email@example.com.
To learn more about this commentary series from Beacon Hill Press, visit. www.nph.com.
--Church of the Nazarene Eurasia Region